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j.s.cutler
08-20-2008, 12:34 AM
Hey folks,

Wondering if you can help me out. My book that involves a wild turkey hunting scene and I want to make sure I get the details right.

My scene takes place at dusk or preferably at night.

I wondering if it is realistic to be turkey hunting at night and if so what kind of equipment would be used. I'd like the hunter to be using some kind of scope or sight. Also I'm not sure what kind of rifle/shotgun would be used with that.

Any authentic details or assistance you can provide are much appreciated.

Parkinsonsd
08-20-2008, 12:39 AM
No, it's not. Turkeys are not nocturnal animals and generally settle down for the night. You call turkeys during the day and bring them in. Further, you generally hunt them with either bows or shot guns, not usually with a scoped rifle. They also have excellent eyesight, so you have to be dressed in camoflauge and sit very still.
Also, for most states, hunting at night is illegal (except for various varmints). Each state's department of natural resources would have the rules and regulations regarding turkey hunting posted on it.

johnnysannie
08-20-2008, 12:46 AM
My late father-in-law was an avid and successful turkey hunter. It may vary state to state but turkey hunting in Missouri is from a half hour before sunrise to a half hour after sunset.

Also, turkeys roost at night.

I've hunted myself and most hunting at night is illegal. Most of the legal hunting at night that I am aware of is coon or fox.

Keep in mind as well that there are specific hunting seasons for all wildlife. Different seasons as well for archery and firearms and different state-to-state.

And, no, the use of a scope isn't needed for turkey hunting with a rifle. Some of the fancier bows today may have a scope; I do a little bow hunting but with a traditional or recurve bow. My father-in-law took the majority of his with a recurve bow. In fact, he made my bow by hand.

Some tips from the Missouri State Conservation website can be found here:
http://mdc4.mdc.mo.gov/Documents/13924.pdf

Red-Green
08-20-2008, 01:17 AM
Coon hunting is a nighttime activity and I know more about that than I ever wanted to. My grandfather was an avid coon hunter and I spent many a night tramping around on the Cimarron River with him when I would have preferred being at home with a book. :D

johnnysannie
08-20-2008, 01:19 AM
Coon hunting is a nighttime activity and I know more about that than I ever wanted to. My grandfather was an avid coon hunter and I spent many a night tramping around on the Cimarron River with him when I would have preferred being at home with a book. :D

Yep, my dad was really into coon hunting during my childhood. Being a girl, I didn't go on those hunts but I heard more about it than I ever wanted to............

Michael Davis
08-20-2008, 01:32 AM
I'm an advent hunter. You don't hunt any game at night (legally) other then varmints like coons and coyotes. Also, the time of day for turkey depends on whether its spring or fall turkey season. In the spring, you hunt gobblers (males) only and must be out of the woods by noon (at least in the three states I've hunted MD, VA, PA). You set up in a spot and call the gobbler in (has a beard about three inches that hangs down from its neck, were as the hen is beardless). In the fall you can hunt male or female until dusk (because the brood has hatched and grown during the spring/summer), but they don't respond to calling so its much harder.

hammerklavier
08-20-2008, 04:43 AM
Turkey hunting at night is illegal precisely because it would be so darn easy to kill the suckers at night. I would use a shotgun and a flashlight if after dusk, or just a shotgun and a little patience if at first light.

hammerklavier
08-20-2008, 05:02 AM
I'm an advent hunter.

You explained turkey hunting, now tell us how you hunt Seventh Day Adventists.

j.s.cutler
08-20-2008, 06:51 AM
Thanks for the guidance.

I need this to be at night, so it sounds like I need to have my character hunting something other than a turkey.

The scene takes place in New England in April. Of the animals mentioned above - coyote, fox, coon -- which one would be most plausible?

Or, one other question, could you hunt deer at night?

C.bronco
08-20-2008, 07:00 AM
Turkey hunting at night is illegal precisely because it would be so darn easy to kill the suckers at night. I would use a shotgun and a flashlight if after dusk, or just a shotgun and a little patience if at first light.
I always thought hunting was allowed from dawn to dusk.

That's what they allow for deer and pheasant.

Tsu Dho Nimh
08-20-2008, 04:23 PM
You can hunt anything you want at night ... it's just illegal to hunt most species at night, including deer.

Could you have them returning from an afternoon hunt as the sun is setting?

Just look up the hunting laws for the state you are using ... "New England" has several states and the laws could be different.

johnnysannie
08-20-2008, 04:49 PM
Thanks for the guidance.



Or, one other question, could you hunt deer at night?

Legally, no.

Kathie Freeman
08-20-2008, 06:59 PM
the gobbler in (has a beard about three inches that hangs down from its neck, were as the hen is beardless)
I think you mean wattles - unless you have a mutant turkey with hair on its chin.

hammerklavier
08-20-2008, 07:26 PM
No, they have what's called a beard, it doesn't describe chin hair, but group of feathers that hang down in front.

hammerklavier
08-20-2008, 07:35 PM
Thanks for the guidance.

I need this to be at night, so it sounds like I need to have my character hunting something other than a turkey.

The scene takes place in New England in April. Of the animals mentioned above - coyote, fox, coon -- which one would be most plausible?

Or, one other question, could you hunt deer at night?


Is your character a redneck? Real rednecks don't let silly hunting laws stop them from hunting at night. A lot of the rednecks where I lived would hunt deer at night. It's called spotlighting deer. Hit them with the spotlight on your four wheel drive truck, they get that deer in the headlights look, freeze, and blam! Incidently, hunting from a motor vehicle (in many states that includes ATVs) is illegal as well.

The reasons turkeys are easy to kill at night are 1) they're asleep, 2) if you know which trees they roost in, they're easy to find.

But to answer your question, coyote wouldn't be very plausible, I know they're not many of those in New England, although they are now spreading through the eastern US.

Racoons are definately the definitive animal I think of when I hear hunting at night. You hunt raccoons with 'coon dogs. Turn the dogs loose, they 'tree' the 'coon and they start barking to lead you there. You use a flashlight and shotgun to shoot the 'coon out of the tree. The best 'coon dogs run silent until they tree the animal, but unfortunately, most are more light fox hounds and bark (or bay) during the whole chase, then start a distintive bark once they've treed the animal.

However, if these people are from aristocracy, maybe they prefer hunting fox. Someone from New England can probably help you more than I have.

12 guage shotgun for anything smaller than a deer, see ammunition chart here http://www.shotgunworld.com/amm.html They don't list raccoons, but if it'll kill a turkey, it'll kill a 'coon. Buckshot or a slug will work for deer, but most hunters use rifles.

Rifle caliber .30/06 is standard, a Bushmaster AR-15 firing 5.56mm (.223 caliber) if they are ex military or survivalist minded. The AR-15 is the civilan version of the M-16 assualt rifle. To be legal they would have to use five round clips instead of the usual 30 or greater capacity clips.

Red-Green
08-20-2008, 07:41 PM
Unfortunately, don't know anything about hunting in New England. In Kansas we use Redbone Hounds to hunt coons. Those are the dogs that are quiet until the tree a coon. My grandfather always had a flashlight duct taped to the barrel of his shotgun.



Racoons are definately the definitive animal I think of when I hear hunting at night. You hunt racoons with 'coon dogs. Turn the dogs loose, they 'tree' the 'coon and they start barking to lead you there. You use a flashlight and shotgun to shoot the 'coon out of the tree. The best 'coon dogs run silent until they tree the animal, but unfortunately, most are more light fox hounds and bark (or bay) during the whole chase, then start a distintive bark once they've treed the animal.

However, if these people are from aristocracy, maybe they prefer hunting fox. Someone from New England can probably help you more than I have.

johnnysannie
08-20-2008, 07:51 PM
However, if these people are from aristocracy, maybe they prefer hunting fox. Someone from New England can probably help you more than I have.

I'm not from New England and haven't ever hunted there. In the Ozarks, however, fox hunting as a sport is alive and well. Affectinados range from your basic country good old boy to a more upscale group (including a local doctor). Although fox hunting is often perceived as a "aristocrat's" sport, in America, fox hunting was about as common as coon hunting until a few decades ago among the less aristocratic. I think that may have had something to do with the fox populations but when I still lived out in the woods (in the Ozarks) we had plenty of fox around. They can be predators too which is why the common folk got into fox hunting in the first place. It wasn't just a sport for them.

jclarkdawe
08-20-2008, 08:34 PM
Thanks for the guidance.

I need this to be at night, so it sounds like I need to have my character hunting something other than a turkey.

The scene takes place in New England in April. Of the animals mentioned above - coyote, fox, coon -- which one would be most plausible?

Or, one other question, could you hunt deer at night?

This changes from year to year, but for 2008, to legally hunt in New Hampshire in April you would be limited to the following:

Coyote no closed season and can be taken at night with landowner permission until 31 March

To 10 April mink and muskrat

Raccoon season ends 31March

Red squirrel and woodchuck no closed season

Turkey youth hunt 25 & 26 April

If you want the documentation, send me a PM and I can send you the material from NH Fish & Game.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

hammerklavier
08-20-2008, 10:57 PM
I just remembered that there have been several municipalities that have hired hunters to kill deer with the city limits when their numbers became a nusiance. These professional hunters hunted at night with night vision and compound bows.

JLCwrites
08-20-2008, 11:30 PM
(Gasps)

Parkinsonsd
08-21-2008, 01:09 AM
Michigan allows night hunting of racoons, as long as you use a rimfire. A 17 hmr is especially well suited to the task. You're probably ok with that out to around 125 yards. (I haven't shot one further than that, don't think I would.) ALso, you need game ammunition, a 22 gr bullet as opposed to the standard 17 gr would give you more punch. You would need a spotlight ( a handheld one, of course) and depending on the time of year, you would have to dress appropriately (for warmth.) Also, a lot of hunters will "bait an area with rotting chicken or something. You don't leave the spotlight on all night, just so you can catch the reflection of the eyes. There are lots of hunting sites out there that would give you better advice I guess.

Michael Davis
08-23-2008, 09:59 PM
OK, if ya have to have them in the woods at night, here's what ya do (its real, cause its happened to me twice). Have the character go deer hunting from a tree stand in a new area he's never hunted before. Have a deer come out for evening browse, but just out of range. Let him watch the deer till couple minutes before dark. Takes about fifteen minutes to come down from tree and pack up your stand. When he finally prepares to exist the woods, it is VERY easy to get disoriented in new woods at night without brighteye markers (tacks you place in trees with flor. tape that shines back when hit by flashlight beam), All trees look the say at night. Took me 3 hours once to find a familiar trail, and 2 hours the second time. Assume he doesn't have a GPS (only rich city slickers have GPS [g]).

hammerklavier
08-24-2008, 12:09 AM
Right, good post! Or he could shoot the deer right at the end of the hunting period, it rolls down a ravine, he has to find it, gut it, and then drag it out of the ravine, by the time he's done all that it's pitch black.